The Dutch trade minister has insisted that Europe’s deal with the South American customs bloc will support rather than undermine the EU’s drive for sustainable growth, hitting back at criticism from farming and environmental lobbies.
Sigrid Kaag, a Dutch liberal and former UN diplomat, told the Financial Times that an EU free trade deal struck last month with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (Mercosur), was an opportunity for Europe to export its high social and environmental standards to South American economies.
The EU-Mercosur deal, which was sealed on June 28 after two decades of negotiations, will slash tariffs on each side’s exports. Big prizes for the EU included reduced duties on industrial goods and wine, while South American producers will get preferential access to European beef, poultry and sugar markets.
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